By Rachel Chrystie || Contributing Writer
Broadway shows have become so ridiculously expensive that most F&M students could save up for an entire year and still not have enough money for tickets. However, there are some instances where students don’t have to spend any money but are able to go to New York and see some amazing theatre. On Saturday, September 23, a group of about twenty-five F&M students took a bus to New York City and saw not one but two Broadway shows, and the best part was that they didn’t have to pay for any of it. The bus left F&M around nine o’clock in the morning and by the time it arrived in New York, the students on it were ready to get off and explore the city.
The first show that students saw was the musical Come From Away with book, music, and lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein and performed at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. The show was based on the true story of what happened to the passengers on the planes that had to be diverted to the Canadian island of Newfoundland directly following the terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. The cast was made up of twelve actors and actresses and instead of each person having just one part they all portrayed many different characters throughout the show. The musical began with the people of Newfoundland dealing with the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and preparing to take in thousands of strangers because of what had happened. Meanwhile, those stuck on the plane had no idea what was happening or where they were being taken. When they were finally let off the plane, they found themselves in a strange new place far away from family and friends. As the story developed, the people from the planes gradually began to feel more comfortable in their new environment and formed close bonds with the citizens of Newfoundland as well as with one another. When it was finally deemed safe for them to go back to the United States, they were relieved to be going home but there was also sadness felt on both sides about leaving the people who took care of them when they needed it the most. From the story, to the characters, to the music, Come From Away was an unbelievably touching musical filled with both moments of laughter and moments of tears. When all the actors came out for curtain call, the entire audience was on their feet cheering and applauding. Some members of the audience even had Newfoundland flags that they were waving proudly.
The second show called A Doll’s House, Part 2 by Lucas Hnath was at the John Golden Theatre. The show was written as a sequel to Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House which was originally performed in 1879. In Ibsen’s play, the story ended with the female lead, Nora, making the shocking decision to leave her husband, Torvald, because of his condescending and dismissive attitude towards her. Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2 took place fifteen years after Nora left and began with her returning to ask a favor of her estranged husband. After she deserted her family, Nora became a successful author using a pseudonym to write about how oppressive the institution of marriage is and she told women that if they were unhappy with their lives then they should leave their husbands. The reason that Nora returned was because she found out that Torvald never filed for the divorce he promised her. Nora initially begged Torvald for a divorce but then once he begrudgingly agreed to give her one, she told him that this was a problem she needed to fix herself. The two eventually came to an understanding of one another and the play ended with her leaving just like she did at the end of Ibsen’s play. A Doll’s House, Part 2 was clever, witty, and much like its predecessor in the way that it made some very bold choices. Although the story took place in the late 1800s, it was evident by the reactions of the audience that the themes dealt with in this show are still quite relevant today.
Once the play ended, students boarded the bus to go back to campus and many of them spent the ride home sleeping or conversing with others about the shows. By the time the bus arrived in Lancaster a little after midnight, students were ready to go back to their rooms and go to bed. It had been a long day of traveling and walking around the city but the students were extremely grateful that they were able to see two fantastic shows and that they didn’t have to pay anything to do so.
Sophomore Rachel Chrystie is a contributing writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.